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ESB Extract Brew

February 19, 2012

While my doppelbock is fermenting along nicely, I’m having to raid my reserves ’cause the kegs are empty.  So I’ve gotta brew, but I don’t have the motivation to go through all the work and time, so I’m going to go back to an extract recipe.  I’m still going to do a full boil in my keggle, but I’ll skip the mashing and associated lifting and time requirement.

Based on feedback from the previous brew of this, I’m boosting each specialty grain (Cara 8 & Crystal) by an ounce or two.  This should darken the color a bit which was another minor criticism from one judge (8.7 est. SRM up to 10.5).  I also realized that while I’ve been increasing my grain to accommodate a 6.25 gallon batch, I haven’t been adjusting my hops.  Actually the brew of this that got entered into the UMM was before I decided to make that BeerSmith accounting switch.  In any case, I’m increasing the flavor (30 minute) addition to 0.625 oz and adding a 0.5 oz. aroma addition at knock out.  I’m actually reducing the bitterness, though.  Both me and the UMM judges thought it was too bitter (me) or a harsh bitterness (judges).  This incarnation should be in the 45 IBU range (0.767 IBU/SG) while the last was 49 IBU (0.905 IBU/SG).

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe / Brewsheet

Pre-Brew

I’ll have to reconsider going back to extract when I’m lazy.  At 2.5 times the cost of all-grain, it’s too damn expensive.  I’d really like to be able to take it easy every once in a while, but I’m just too cheap.

Brew Day (2/21/12)

The night before, I hot steeped the 14 oz. or so of specialty grains per Brewing Better Beer.  I chilled it quickly in an ice bath and left it in the fridge overnight.

To begin brew day, I put 6 gallons of hot (~120 F) water in the kettle since I didn’t know how much volume the extract would add.  After getting to boiling, I killed the flame and dumped the first can in.  After that, I figured it would be safe to just keep the flame on low and I think it worked out fine.  I ended up dumping 3 – 3.3 lb. cans of Munton’s Light Malt Extract.  BeerSmith said I needed about 10 lbs, 2 oz. of extract, but I only had 9 lbs., 14.4 oz.  Turns out that calculation was wrong since my final gravity (in ~6.25 gallons of wort, as expected) was 1.064.  Better to be high than low, and at least it’s not as high as the ESB I did around Christmas.  After adding all of the extract and the 2 quarts or so from the specialty grain steep, the volume went up to ~7 gallons so I added about 1/3rd of a gallon of water and started heating.

I was worried about boilover, but it really wasn’t too bad.  Much better than my all-grain brews have been lately.  In pretty short order, the hot break was over and I made my first hop addition.  After about half an hour, I noticed the flame was a little low.  Opening up the needle valve to increase flow didn’t do much, so I was afraid I was running out.  On a hunch, I dumped some more warm water into the tub I was keeping the tank in and the flame slowly built back up to a roar.  After putting it at a suitable level, I continued with the brew.  Unfortunately that only lasted for another 15 – 20 minutes.  At that time, the flame started dying again and adding warm water didn’t help.  Slowly the boil stopped as the flame got lower and lower.  Eventually I bit the bullet and decided to run to the hardware store up the street and make an exchange.  All told, the boil stopped for about 15 minutes (from end of boil to start of boil) so I extended my boil by 15 minutes to account and we’ll see how it turns out.

I chilled to ~65 F, let it settle for about 30 minutes and then ran off to the fermentor.  About halfway through runoff, I ran off ~1200 mL to an erlenmeyer.  Later (actually about 4 hours later), I put the repitch yeast into it and put it on a stir plate for a couple minutes to break up the clumps and get the yeast going again.  I guess it was lucky that I did that and got some extra oxygen in because my oxygen tank ended up running out on me after about 45 seconds or so later on.

After pitching the yeast in the 1200 mL of wort, I was a bit too high on the carboy (a habit I’m starting to have), so I made sure to put some anti-foam stuff in the fermentor and set up the blow off tube.  Started it at ~66 F in the rubbermaid with the aquarium heater at its lowest setting.  Let it get up to 68 F and held until fermentation activity slowed (about 5 days after pitching). After this, sampling indicated quite a bit of fermentation left (really cloudy with yeast and relatively high gravity) and not much ester aroma, so I raised the temperature up to ~71 for >3 days and roused the yeast (just to make sure they’re all working)

Sample after 5 days: 1.027

Sample after 10 days:  1.025.  Some bubble gum aroma, though not overwhelming.  No hop aroma to speak of.  Flavor is a bit caramel-sweet with strong bitterness and a bit of alcohol.  I don’t think I’ve gotten a handle on the harsh bitterness yet.  Also, I definitely need to toss this yeast after this.  The fact that it can’t seem to attenuate very well and there’s some alcohol heat in a beer that’s only ~5% lets me know that it’s not the most healthy.  It must have sat in the fridge too long.  Maybe there’s just not enough yeast.  In any case, I think I’ll start with a new pack next time.

Kegging (3/3/12)

Kegged with 1 oz. Fuggles for dry hop.  I connected it to the center tube of an auto-siphon so I can hopefully pull it out after a few days to prevent grassy-ness.

First Impressions

Really nice earthy hop aroma blends with caramel sweet.  A little bit of alcohol underneath.  Caramel-sweet on the front with assertive bitterness through the finish and lingering.  I definitely think I need to cut back off on the hops next time.  It may not be harsh, but I think it’s too much.  Also, for competition it needs to be dried out.  It’s too sweet as-is, but I like it fine.  The body is slightly thin and it is not properly carbonated yet.  Serving at 50 F after being hooked up to carbonation for only ~12 hours.

Dry Hopping

Hop aroma came through on the first pour and was great for the 7 days that I had the hops in the keg.  After 7 days, I took them out since people complain of grassy-ness if kept in too long.  Unfortunately, the aroma went away almost as fast as it came.  Guess I should have trusted my own perceptions and just left it in.  Running across a few discussions on dry hopping lately, I also wonder if I didn’t use enough.  That doesn’t seem like it would address my issue so well, though.  By increasing the hopping, I would think it would mainly increase the intensity and not so much the staying power.  It’s possible though, that it would have been overly intense with the hops in and then faded to a proper level once they were removed.  I’m not sure.

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From → Ale, Brews, Extract

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